Marijuana law reform is underway in Maryland. There are currently three medical marijuana proposals before the state legislature. Two of these will institute a state-run commission for research. The third bill—House Bill 302—requires the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to oversee the regulation of dispensaries. If it passes, patients will be allowed to grow up to six ounces and twelve plants. It also repeals the criminal provision that permits judges to fine people found to use or possess marijuana. According to the Huffington Post, the bill is now backed by Maryland’s Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein who opposed a similar measure last year.
In addition to medical marijuana reform, ordinary marijuana possession laws have recently changed. Governor Martin O’Mally signed two new laws relating to marijuana in 2012. On October 1, 2012, the maximum penalty for simple marijuana possession of 10 grams or less was reduced to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. On January 2nd, 2013, a new law took effect that requires that people charged with certain nonviolent criminal offenses, like marijuana possession, face only a citation, rather than jail time.
On top of all these reforms, there’s a new bill on recreational marijuana use as well. House Bill 1453, if passed, would legalize up to 1 oz. of raw cannabis, 5 grams of hash, and 3 marijuana plants for adults. Continue reading →